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Ep 9: Mike Roberts. Bootstrapping a multi-million dollar company and reshaping the landscape of search marketing

Ep 9: Mike Roberts. Bootstrapping a multi-million dollar company and reshaping the landscape of search marketing

Host: Sean Tierney | Published: October 10, 2019

Mike Roberts started SpyFu back in 2005 and has managed to grow it to become a healthy, profitable, entirely-bootstrapped company having never taken investment. This has given him a lot of freedom in terms of how he runs things and latitude to maintain a course with the business that closely aligns with his values. In this interview we discuss points from Mike’s talk at PressNomics 6 on what staying bootstrapped affords you, advice for early-stage companies intending to not raise capital, some gangster veteran tips about how to handle your ISP when your internet goes down and the “finer points” of Segway jousting. Enjoy!


Show Notes

0:00:53   Welcome and context
0:02:03   What is SpyFu?
0:03:49   SpyFu is entirely bootstrapped?
0:07:23   On fundraising as a dangerous distraction for early-stage companies
0:08:41   “From a life quality perspective entrepreneurship can be an expression of yourself – who cares if it takes a little longer.”
0:09:59   “I really enjoy the ability to make decisions based solely on our values and mission.”
0:11:43   The origin story of SpyFu
0:14:05   Can you talk about the often overlooked misalignment of incentives with VC’s and founders?
0:17:13   “That’s the way the math works for them but the math works differently for the founder.”
0:23:27   “Talking about the bootstrapped thing has no profit motive for me – it’s just sharing, genuine and comes from a very real place.”
0:25:17   Can you talk us through the 8 luxuries that become possible when you don’t take VC money?
0:25:33   “You can choose not to do investor updates and board meetings.”
0:28:01   “You can choose to slow your growth.”
0:28:23   “Spend your time building a better product instead of a pitch deck.”
0:29:07   “You can choose to buy a building.”
0:30:45   “You can give yourself a raise.”
0:31:09   “You can take money off the table and remove the pressure to sell the company.”
0:32:34   “You can recover from really stupid mistakes without fear of being fired.”
0:35:01   “You can choose not to sell.”
0:37:21   What advice do you have for people who are bootstrapping?
0:41:09   How did you discover your super power and is there a repeatable way for others to do the same?
0:47:27   Any other bootstrapping tips?
0:53:53   Gangster tips for dealing with your ISP when the internet goes down
0:57:43   How do you know when you need to hire someone?
0:59:59   What is one book that has profoundedly affected you?
1:00:27   What is one tool or hack that saves you time, money or headaches?
1:01:43   What is one piece of music or musical artist that speaks to you lately?
1:02:28   What is one important truth very few people agree with you on?
1:05:27   If you had a time machine to go back and visit your 20yr-old self, what one piece of advice would you give yourself?
1:07:06   Can you tell the story of the Segway jousting incident?

Show Transcript

Sean: 00:00:54 All right. Welcome everybody. The podcast. I’m your host, Sean Tierney, and I am here today with Mike Roberts. Mike is Founder and CEO of SpyFu. SpyFu highlights new opportunities for search marketers by exposing the marketing secret formula of their most successful competitors. Uh, in a former life, Mike was a software consultant serving such clients as Pinnacle West, Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab, Meritage Homes, Pulte homes, JDA, Microsoft, and a ton of big names you probably have heard of. Mike is also a world renowned Segway jouster and we’ll getg into that a little bit towards the end. I actually, I can vouch for this personally as being one of his vanquished prey, I guess you’d say. Mike, welcome to the show.

Mike: 00:01:34 Thanks man. It’s, uh, it’s an amazing intro.

Sean: 00:01:39 Well we’ll save the cliffhanger, the Segway jousting, until the very end, but I want to just give some people some context. We met through the Phoenix software startup scene back in the day. I now am in Lisbon. You’re, or you’re at your beach house. I believe you said?

Mike: 00:01:56 San Diego. I’m an ocean side right now.

Sean: 00:01:59 Oceanside. Cool. Um, so yeah, we’re doing this interview virtually here. Um, let’s just dig right into it. Like, Mike, what is SpyFu? Can you tell us what, what that is and what it does?

Mike: 00:02:08 Yeah, yeah. You can go to a SpyFu.com and type in any website and see every keyword that they’ve ever bought on Google. Um, all the ads that they’ve ever run, every organic ranking that they have. Um, and you know, all of the stuff about their sort of search engine marketing, um, uh, and, and the idea is that you can learn from your competitors without having to, uh, uh, without having to suffer through the same mistakes that they’ve made. You take what they’ve done and, and, and kind of build on it.

Sean: 00:02:35 Nice. And so it’s just like the super power, almost like x-ray vision, being able to kind of look into what’s worked for other people so you don’t have to waste all those cycles making the same mistakes they did.

Mike: 00:02:48 That’s right. Like, I mean, ultimately people spend millions of dollars, sometimes millions of dollars a day on, on testing things and, and uh, and, and building a really great campaign. And, uh, and so you can kind of learn from those tests, uh, and without having to spend the money yourself. Right.

Sean: 00:03:07 And this business, so you started this 13 years ago?

Mike: 00:03:10 Yeah, I think so. I think, uh, well let’s see. It’s 2019 and I believe actually, um, the, the original version of what is now spy food was called [inaudible] spy. Uh, and that was launched in like 2005. So I guess it’s been 14 years, but spy fu as itself, um, was, uh, you know, it has been around for 13 years that we launched that in 2006.

Sean: 00:03:36 Nice. I mean, that’s, that is a heck of a run. I don’t even know if it qualifies as a startup anymore. That like, that’s like a full on real deal business. So congrats on that run. So you are a speaker at PressNomics in your talk is about basically being entirely bootstrapped. So you never, you never raised any money for this venture. Now, like I started with like $3,000,

Mike: 00:03:58 uh, in my bank account, I kind of let, I, I’m basically like definitely 100% bootstrapped. And, uh, and what’s interesting is that wasn’t necessarily my intent in the beginning. Um, and so one of the things I talk about is, is just, you know, I sort of was like, well, you know, let me just let me just build the product first and then, you know, and then I was like, well, let’s, you know, let’s launch it before we like try to raise money. And, and I just kinda kept putting off raising money. Uh, and, you know, cause the idea is like, well, you know, maybe at each additional phase, you know, you can like raise more. And, um, and so that sort of wisdom of procrastination I suppose, um, led me to like the understanding that, um, that, that really, I didn’t need anybody else’s money and that there was a lot of, a lot of benefits and I didn’t really learn about all of the pitfalls of, of taking other people’s money. Uh, except for, you know, by being involved in other people’s businesses and, and understanding other people’s experiences.

Sean: 00:05:05 And had you, you said you kind of put it off, put it off. Had you initially, when you started that business, had you foreseen someday taking money and you just kind of arrived at the point where you’d never needed to, or did you consciously start it with the intent of never

Mike: 00:05:19 money? So my first venture into, into like, you know, into, into software was like, I like 1999. Right. And, uh, and so I had an idea it wasn’t, it was, it was actually pretty, pretty decent idea. Um, but my a but like kind of, uh, uh, what everybody says. And then this is something that everybody still says is that, you know, you, you gotta, you gotta raise money, you gotta, um, you know, go out there and, uh, you know, do some, create a pitch deck and do the whole thing. And, uh, and so I spent and like way more time focused on trying to raise capital. Of course, I’m like 19 years old, you know, and no one knows. Nobody’s going to give me any money. You know, it’s like, I mean, maybe they will, it was like 1999, just sort of pre that during the DOTCOM bubble.

Mike: 00:06:06 And I probably could have raised money, but, but I, there’s a lot of things against it. Um, and, uh, but I, I spent probably six months pursuing that where what I should’ve done is just built something and, you know, see what happened. Right. And, and that’s, um, and that’s what I basically did when I did my second venture, which was velocity scape, which ultimately became, you know, uh, about $500,000 in revenue. And that became, uh, eventually we sort of continued building from that and built, built spy Fu and, you know, spy foods, like an $8 million company. So it’s, you know, it’s, it’s one of those sort of iterative things. Um, but I think I did intend to re to raise capital or, or whatever. Um, but, uh, but I just kept putting it off.

Sean: 00:06:59 Nice. Yeah, I can definitely, uh, I don’t know if you remember, we did a company called jump box back in the day. That was like 2006 and we spent an inordinate amount of time, like you’re saying, just the VC roadshow thing sucked up so much of our time and it was such a distraction from the core business that it nearly killed the company and it really required when that didn’t work out, we was 2008 when the whole Lehman brothers, you know, shit hit the fan there. So we, uh, at that time had to fork, you know, focus back on the business and get to profitability and really make grind to make that work. And uh, it was just were, it was lucky that it didn’t kill us because the fundraising, once you start going down that path, it really sucks a lot of the time up. And uh, it really doesn’t yield anything if you don’t raise the money then.

Mike: 00:07:44 Yeah, yeah. And, and then, and then what it does yield is like, is like, it’s pretty good, but it’s not the same thing as having having like recurring revenue coming in. You know what I mean? Like, like let’s say you raise 1 million bucks. Well, if you could get to, you know, eight $83,000 in MRR, then your, you basically have $1 million coming in every year, uh, you know, so, and, and like, it’s kind of like so much more worth it to go after that revenue building, those nurturing those customers, building a better product, um, and it just kind of pays dividends.

Sean: 00:08:22 Right. And you’re not giving up equity at that point and you’re not taking now derp neo instructions from other people holing. So that’s,

Mike: 00:08:29 yeah, and I mean like from a life quality perspective, like the, the entrepreneurship thing, it can be an expression of your values and of yourself and, um, and it can also be like a, I mean, I think of it as, you know, as just part of who I am, right? Like, and so the experience and the process of going through it and, um, and learning about what works, um, you know, from a leadership perspective and from a marketing perspective, um, I like it. You just can’t, you know, who cares whether it takes a little bit longer. It’s, it’s all basically it’s part of you.

Sean: 00:09:08 Yeah, exactly. Well, I’ve long thought of companies as really just like instruments for amplifying whatever affected as you want to have on the world. You can have far more of it through an organization. And so I’m 100% agree with you. Yeah. If, if, if raising money is then going to somehow compromise whatever your original goal was, then that is counter productive for sure.

Mike: 00:09:29 And I think it kind of has to because you’re, you’re, you’re not likely to be in alignment. Right. And like in my presentation, I talk about like, basically, right, like there’s a, there’s, there’s really only, you know, a, a s a small number of paths that the venture funded, you know, startup can go through and, and sort of the markets that they can pursue. And there’s like a, um, you know, like 95% of the paths are not available to you. And, um, uh, you know, so I, I like really enjoy the ability to make decisions, um, based on my values and our mission and, uh, and you know, and, and I’m able to make mistakes and, you know, learn from them and not, you know, not really suffer real consequences or the consequences that I suffer are super real. It’s very, very real. But, um, but I don’t have anybody else to answer to so I just, I can just kind of, you know, keep those lessons, um, for myself.

Sean: 00:10:37 Yeah. It really shared them with others. When you say it that way, it’s interesting cause it, it, it both, it cuts both ways, right? It’s taking that money, taking VC money, both shields you from a bunch of stuff that is going to surface at some point anyway. So it’s just like kind of deferring that learning until you actually bump into it and feel the pain associated with it. But then it’s also subjecting you to all kinds of other stressors and issues there. So it’s, that’s a, that’s an effect that actually I hadn’t thought of much. Is that kind of insulating you from stuff that you would bump into sooner just by virtue of having to not have that, that money, that buffer

Mike: 00:11:15 [inaudible] yeah, I think it forces you to think a little bit more strategically as well. And uh, and you really have to prioritize, right? If you think about me sitting in my house, um, like, you know, with like $3,000 in my bank account trying to launch like this, uh, this, this other software business that I had, ultimately I had to like, I was like basically learning how to do like ad words, Google ad words, right? This is like the origin story of spy Fu. I was marketing another product, uh, that was called web scraper plus, and it would take data off of a website and put it into a spreadsheet or database. Um, and what, uh, what the problem was or what, what I found was by accident was that, well, the way that I would describe, because I’m a nerd, the way that I would describe what a web scraper plus did, I called it, um, web data extraction.

Mike: 00:12:06 And it turns out that nobody else really called it that. They called it screen scraping or web scraping. And this was actually before I changed the name to web scraper plus, uh, it was called providers, which is a horrible name. And I can just totally tell you all reasons why I’d provide us an awful name. But, uh, but I learned just by accident that people that, that the majority of people call it web scraping or screen scraping. And I kinda thought, well, that’s like, that’s like, you know, almost an insulting way to describe my glorious product data. Web data extraction is technically more correct. Uh, but when I, when I, when I embraced the way that people actually did do the searches and how they actually call it, what they called the product, what the consumers called the product, um, I got, I literally tripled my revenue in like in a month.

Mike: 00:12:58 And, um, and so I ended up renaming the product to it and doubling down on that kind of thing ended up like doubling my revenue again. And so I really wanted to figure out if there was some other blind spots that I had where there, you know, cause I had some competitors and I wondered whether or not they had stumbled upon some other, you know, good ways to describe the product that I hadn’t thought of. And that’s actually ultimately why I made spy Fu. So the, I guess the lesson is that, is that by being forced to like, you know, really think hard at these like, you know, when every, every when every decision that you’re making, um, is, is a little bit more important because it can mean you have to like go back to work or whatever. Um, I think, I think that, I think that things become more real and you become sort of smarter and wiser as in the process.

Mike: 00:13:49 Yeah. Well this is yet another benefit. Like you’re saying, the whole constraints breed creativity. Like even scratching your own itch, the, the search, you know, building that product and marketing that product, you actually created something that ended up being the real product, which is just an amazing, Yup. Can you talk a little bit about, for people that are unfamiliar with the dynamics of how it works, you know, with vcs and portfolios and just, you know, looking for that a hundred x Unicorn and t 10 fail, one worse. Can you just talk a bit about those dynamics and how that is, it’s not necessarily adverse incentives but it’s not aligned to like the entrepreneur. Right. So, so you as the entrepreneur, uh, starting out, um, probably, you know, you might think to yourself, you know, it’s a pretty good exit. Like anywhere in like sort of like, I don’t know, I think that when I was starting out I was like, you know, I would be pretty down with making, uh, taking a $2 million exit.

Mike: 00:14:46 That’d be pretty cool. Um, I might have even thought like $500,000 exit is pretty good. Um, certainly everybody I think would agree that a 10, 20, 30, $40 million exit is a good exit, especially if you’re the entrepreneur. Um, but that’s basically not a good exit. It’s not something that you can pursue as a venture backed business. Right. You have to aim for, you know, I think no less than a hundred million puts. You’re basically aiming for a, uh, like $1 billion exit. Um, almost no matter, you know, I don’t care who you’re, whether or not it’s like really truly institutional capital or if it’s like, I mean some kind of, sometimes you get angels that are kind of willing to, to, to work with these sort of $20 million things. But, um, but the reality is, is that there’s a lot more paths to these sort of what venture capitalists would consider mediocre or poor outcomes.

Mike: 00:15:46 Um, to me it’s a decent, it’s a pretty damn good outcome. You know, if you, if you build yourself a $20 million business, I think that you’re, um, you’re very successful and you’ll have also, um, probably a happier like life. Um, you’ll know your employees and you will, um, uh, you’ll be able to run and connect with the business and the customers and so on. Um, but, uh, if you have like a heart to heart with your, your VC, um, they’re, they’re, they’re not going to be aligned with that interest. And I think that that’s a, I think that if you’re like 90, if you’re like, yeah, of course everybody would like to build $1 billion business. Yeah. But if it, if it doesn’t work out that way and only 5% of the paths can possibly be successful, then that’s, then you’re like 95% out of alignment with your, with your, with your partner, with your business partner who is your venture capitalist. Yup.

Sean: 00:16:47 Yup. And that’s just not even, you can get the best VC in the world, but that’s just a fundamental aspect of how it works with them having a portfolio and how they just, you know, they’re going for the one big win that’s going to make their whole portfolio work versus yeah,

Mike: 00:17:03 they’re, they’re running a, uh, a business as well. That’s, and, and the rules of their business are that they have to pursue those. That’s the formula. That’s the formula that maximizes return. That’s the way the math works out for them. But the math works differently for the founder,

Sean: 00:17:22 right. Cause the 20 million heck, a 5 million, the exit is a life changing sum of money, most likely for an entrepreneur. So it’s just fundamentally, right.

Mike: 00:17:32 Yeah. I mean, and you have to figure out what your life changing thing is or what’s a good thing for you. And, and uh, I mean like there’s many different layers, levels of wealth, you know, like the first time that you’re able to like, I don’t know, deep deal with like having like, you know, your car break down and not have to, I don’t know, you know, get like a payday loan. I think that’s like a form of wealth and there’s like, you know, 30, 30 different levels there and, uh, and you know, wherever you’re at, that’s Kinda like what you’ve got to look at. I don’t think that most people really could really benefit from having $1 billion exit, relatively speaking. Uh, what I mean is there’s a diminishing return past a certain point, you know, and the, and the diminishing return kind of starts to happen relatively early.

Mike: 00:18:17 Um, what’s interesting though is that, is that the marketing models sort of like the, um, what, what, what vcs wants you to believe. And there’s, I mean, I think that they’re, they’re completely, um, like good people. Um, but they’re, they’re, their sort of content marketing process is, Hey, we’re super entrepreneur friendly cause we are, and we’re entrepreneurs. Um, we’re successful and we like want to, uh, help other people be successful. That’s all true. Um, and so they published books and the books say, you know, here’s, here’s some life lessons from entrepreneurs and, but the, the main idea is that, and, and you should pursue venture capital. Well, the reason that they’re saying that you should pursue venture capital, um, is, is because they want to create deal flow for themselves. So it’s a content marketing process that they’re doing. And, and, and, and it’s, and there’s really nobody that is going to tell you don’t raise capital that has a deal flow incentive to do so. Right? Nobody’s going to tell you, don’t raise capital and have a profit motive. Right. So you hear a hundred times more people telling you raise capital. Right? It strikes me that’s not a conspiracy. That’s just what it is. That’s just the market.

Sean: 00:19:49 It strikes me a lot in the same regard as a, like no one’s going to tell you, oh, just eat more vegetables. No, they’re gonna let you know. It’s all about like, what, what’s the moneymaker? You know, buy this stuff, get used this drug, go, no, you need this thing. Uh, so there’s no money in there. Maybe few pennies for the farmers or whatever. But there is no money in recommending that. You just eat more vegetables. Right. So you can say it’s the exact same paradigm.

Mike: 00:20:15 Right. You know, here’s my book. Yeah. I mean it’s, it’s a, it is what it is.

Sean: 00:20:23 Yeah. And normalizing that, I guess I would say the book industry for sure, but even things like shark tank, you know, like it normalizes, oh, this is just how entrepreneurship works. You have to go, you know, make a prototype and then pitch to a panel of investors who are going to offer you some crappy deal that you then have to take as the entrepreneur. It’s almost normalizing that behavior where

Mike: 00:20:48 if you don’t know any better, you just assume, oh, that’s how entrepreneurship works. Wow, that’s a really interesting point. Like I’ve, I’ve talked to like kind of, um, aspiring entrepreneurs that have like sort of a product idea that’s not like software and often, you know, like the whole shark tank thing comes up and it’s like, yeah, you don’t need to do shark tank. Like it’s not, it’s not how you’re gonna, you know, get this thing off the ground. Like think differently, think a little more strategically now, how do you, how do you, how do you, how do you build this on a shoe string and prototype it and kind of get like, you know, your initial first customers and that’s, you just have to think differently. Um, yeah. But at that, I hadn’t thought of the shark tank angle. That’s pretty interesting. Yeah, it’s just different, right?

Mike: 00:21:33 It annoys me seeing that show, just the, the crappiness of the deals that are offered and then the fact that this is like mainstream, you know, prime time TV. So then it just becomes normalized that this is how it works. That kind of rubs me the wrong way. Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean, I like watching shark tank, uh, because at least it’s entrepreneurship on t v and, and, and, and, and innovation. You know? Um, I like, I like inventing things. Uh, I consider myself an inventor before most of the things, most of their labels and, uh, and so I like to see that celebrated. But it’s, it is interesting the, the shark angle of it, uh, the fact that, you know, the idea that you have to raise capital, um, yeah. Well, you know, it’s the only, the reason is because it’s the, there’s a profit model.

Mike: 00:22:25 Yeah. Yeah. And actually, yeah, what you’re saying is right though. I mean, all things being equal, at least it’s, it’s glorifying entrepreneurship and it is promoting it in that way. Kind of like, I think of the way that show battlebots kind of made like, Yo tech cool back in the day. So good for that. But, uh, definitely it’s, it’s a shame if people don’t take it upon themselves to investigate more and learn that there’s other options to actually doing it. Bootstrapped instead of, uh, going down the whole investment route. Yeah. It’s why I kinda feel good about like doing these, doing this kind of a talk. Um, you know, because it doesn’t really fit exactly into like the, my, you know, like normally I like to give, you know, talks about, I don’t know, content marketing or some kind of SEO stuff or ad words or something like that. Just, just at least generally so that I can kind of like slip in like my profit motive. Yeah. Um, but like I feel like talking about the bootstrap thing is just an underserved thing and I almost feel like that, like, it’s just sharing, uh, like this experience. Um, it’s kind of one of my favorite things to talk about cause it’s really genuine. It’s a, it comes from a really real place and point of wisdom that I feel like I have, uh, developed over a really long period of time.

Sean: 00:23:46 Yeah. No. W W so beige has never raised any money either. We’re definitely in that camp. We do same thing. It’s also a, you know, it’s something where you can take this contrarian stance and actually be pretty vocal. You know, when these vcs are out there on Twitter and stuff, you can kinda like play devil’s advocate and needle them and, and actually insert yourself in the conversation and provide that alternative viewpoint, which is fine.

Mike: 00:24:12 Oh yeah, you know, I haven’t done that and I’m not. Uh, I like, yeah, that’s, that seems like a reasonable idea that should do that.

Sean: 00:24:19 It’s fun. Set up some alerts and tweet deck or whatever you use and just play with it for a week. It’s actually pretty fun. Yeah. So, Hey, I wanted to talk about, because I’m looking at your deck right now and by the way, your illustrations are just hungry. I don’t know if you drew these, but I’m going to try to describe it because this is, I wish it wasn’t an audio only podcast right now because what I’m looking at is what appears to be Jabba the hut, hand-drawn with a monocle and a top to be obesity and like shooting, shooting nuts. I don’t know what he’s doing here. You got to look at what this is. Oh Man. Yeah, no, they’re definitely hand drawn. Um, yeah. Uh, let’s see. Oh yeah, there you go. I don’t know what he’s doing. Oh, he’s giving that. Maybe he’s giving money. Yeah, that’s, that’s the pension. God. Yeah, it’s fantastic. Thanks. Well, we’ll link to this in the show notes so people can see what we’re talking about. But can you go through, I’m on slide 29 right now. So like you have this topic, things that you can’t do once you take capital. Can you just kind of run through that and tell us w w what these things are?

Mike: 00:25:27 Yeah, sure. Well, we’ll go top eight, eight, eight, eight, two one. Huh. Okay. So, um, you can not write investor updates and not do board meetings. So that’s, that’s their number eight, which, um, you know, I think that there’s some benefit to doing investor updates and board meetings. Um, but also it’s a time suck, you know, it, you know, oftentimes you have to do that like monthly. Sometimes you have to do it quarterly. I think it’s up to you or it’s up to you and your board and your investors I guess. Um,

Sean: 00:25:57 well in the moment, like you said, it’s a good practice, but the motive changes you’re now like essentially having to sell internally than what you’re doing makes sense instead of just knowing what you’re doing makes sense and kind of seeing where you’re at.

Mike: 00:26:11 That’s right. And I don’t necessarily think that the, and Le, this is, this is a bit complicated, a little bit complex, but I think that if you write something, let’s say you’re making a decision and if you write something down that is a sales perspective on it to sell your investors and your board on it, I think that that might actually mess with your ability to change your mind. A, it might also mess with your sort of impartiality, you know, when you’re making decisions, like one of the biggest things that one of the, it’s really hard to kind of get outside your own head and take other people’s insights, um, or to not just sort of become like, like you hire the best people you possibly can, right? And sometimes it’s hard to hear them because you, because everybody kind of wants to please you a little bit.

Mike: 00:27:11 You know, you’re kind of the, um, uh, you’re the boss, right? And so you have to really not be loud and you have to be really deliberate in how you do communicate and not try to not like take over meetings and stuff like that. And, uh, and so I think that this process of writing a sales document might be kind of bad. That said, thinking strategically and writing that stuff down and sharing that with like your team is obviously, um, is obviously a really big benefit. But again, um, it’s gonna take like a day, you know, and, and that’s like maybe one 90th of your time or you know, one 50th of your time or something like that. And in a given quarter and a given time period. So I don’t know. I would personally not want to do it and, uh, but I would have to, it’d be like required.

Mike: 00:27:59 Yup. A number seven, uh, you can choose to slow your growth to make sure the company is a place that you want to work. Um, I have personally done this a couple of times. Um, you know, but, but you don’t have this opportunity. You don’t have to, like, if you see your culture going in a different direction, you have to like, you can’t like put the, you can’t slow down growth. You have to grow no matter what. Right. And that’s, it’s just not an option that you have. Number six, spend your time building a better product and acquiring customers rather than building a pitch deck. We definitely talked about this earlier. Um, I do think that pitching for capital is a huge time suck. And by the way, due diligence for acquisitions, same, same kind of deal if you aren’t a hundred percent sure that you want to sell right now.

Mike: 00:28:45 Kind of going through that process with somebody. Yeah. You know, can be a time suck and a and can really take your eye off of a, of, of real value creation. You know, we’re not creating value by creating, by pitching for money and if you’re a builder, you know, build. Yup. Um, you can’t buy a building, you know, I own, I own the building that we, that we’re in and I’m able to customize it. And uh, I literally, you know, gutted the entire thing. I bought it like it’s right next to my house. I literally skateboard through the park to from my, like my house is on one side of this park and my office buildings on the other side of the park and it’s a great life experience and I can, uh, I was able to build it and, uh, completely transformed the outside and transform the inside. This is not something that you can do, um, but it’s, um, it definitely allows you to control your work environment and, uh, and you know, also diversify your, your, your diversify things. It’s just something you can’t do and it’s pretty awesome to do it. Yup.

Sean: 00:29:49 And it’s something you can’t do because the investors are never gonna cut a check and let let you use their money to do that, basically.

Mike: 00:29:56 No, definitely not. Right. It’s a there they want you to lease. Um, and, and let’s be clear, leasing is more expensive than buying. Yup. Right. So for the same space that I, that, that, that I currently have, I would pay I, my mortgage is like $8,000 a month or $9,000, including, Eh, you know, all of the things. Um, you know, the, you gotta Pay Your Association dues and all that stuff. Um, versus about $20,000 a month. Yeah. Which you wouldn’t think you’d think that the lease would be a better deal, but it’s, um, that’s just not the way commercial real estate works. Eh, rent is rent is pretty high. Yup. Um, you, and this is, this should, this could be number one, I don’t know, but you can’t change your salary. Like, like even if you take one investor, right? Like the one thing that you can’t do just unilaterally is to change your own salary.

Mike: 00:30:54 You can’t give yourself a $20,000 raise. Um, and that, that’s, that’s a big deal. You take a 1%, you sell a 1% stake in your company, you lose that ability. Um, the other thing you can’t do is you can’t earn out, right? Like this is kind of like ties in with the, the change of salary thing. You basically are banking 100% on that exit. You can’t just say, well, you know, I’m going to just like take $50,000 a month off the table, put it in my bank account, put it in my investment account and just kind of like take the pressure off of myself to sell the company. Yeah, right. You don’t have all your eggs in a bat in the same basket and you can kinda like get to your 2 million or your 5 million or your $10 million or your 500,000, whatever, whatever. Like those, those sort of incremental points of uh, of wealth are, um,

Sean: 00:31:49 well they don’t want their incentive at that point. Like you taking money off the table makes you less hungry I think like, so they want you to be just, you know, your entire, like your, your reward is going to be that carrot way out there once you do sell. And so they don’t want you to have any piece of that until you get there, basically.

Mike: 00:32:08 Yeah. I mean, okay. I’m sitting in my beach house right now, uh, that I own. It’s my beach house. I bought it five years ago. Right. That’s not something you can do with a venture back company. It’s just not plausible. Right. So, um, you cannot make really stupid mistakes and uh, you’ll, you’ll get fired. I mean, the, the board will get rid of you and sometimes you make really stupid mistakes. Ideally you try to like make mistakes that are not going to be fatal for the company. Um, and you know, obviously, so you can’t, nobody can make that bad of a mistake, but, you know, yeah. I don’t think you want to live in that fear. Right. I think you want to be able to just follow what your instincts or not necessarily your instincts, but your wisdom tells you and, and not like, okay, so if I made a horrible mistake six months ago, should I take this risk right now?

Mike: 00:33:08 Or right. You know, or not. So you don’t really have to fear, I guess, being getting fired ever. Yeah. And I’ve definitely made plenty of really stupid mistakes I’ve learned from, I think all of my mistakes. It’s uh, I think you also gain the ability to be a little bit more self-reflective and you can share those things with your company, with, with your, with your, uh, with the leadership in your company. Um, you can kind of teach them the mistakes that you’ve made and not feel like it’s going to be in any way damaging to your situation. Yeah. So that was my topic.

Sean: 00:33:45 I also think that it’s just the way I think of like politics in a bigger organization. You know, I’ve worked in a large corporation and it’s such a waste of cycles when you’re having to convince some middle manager of a reason of why you’re doing something instead of just doing it and doing what you know is right. And even if it’s wrong, you needed to learn that lesson and you will incorporate it and be better next time. But if you’re ever having that like second guess your choices based on how it might be interpreted by someone up the food chain, that’s just really a, a poor use of cycles. So I totally agree. Um, I think we, yeah.

Mike: 00:34:18 Yeah. And I mean, you know, if it’s, if, if you have a boss, you have a boss, um, but you just kind of like vcs or bosses, you just Kinda can’t get rid of right there. They’re bought in. Yeah. Um, you know, so that’s, that’s how that is.

Sean: 00:34:33 Yeah. Well, and it’s a boss that it’s the worst kind of boss though, in the sense that they’re not even in the business. They like, they, you know, they, they’re just straight up looking to make money and that’s the, that is the motive there. And so it’s not like they’re even able to offer the insight of someone like a boss who’s in the business who has more seniority and perhaps more experience, you know, with that. So, yeah. Um, I think we skipped a number four. Uh, we glossed over it, but it’s just choosing not to like, you lose the ability to choose not to sell. Um, which I think is also, yeah. Oh,

Mike: 00:35:07 how did I miss that? That’s a big one as usual. Yeah. Um, you know, like, yeah, you don’t, you don’t have to sell like you, you don’t have to, you don’t have a timeline at all. You can basically, um, be like, you know what, again, I can earn out and uh, I can continue working on this for as long as I want to. I can start new things. You just don’t have to sell. And um, I like make that decision at least once a month cause you know, you get a lot of calls at some point and um,

Speaker 3: 00:35:39 yeah,

Mike: 00:35:41 I think it’s a really good decision. I think it’s a fun decision to make. Uh, you know, because like if you’re, if you have the opportunity to sell and then you choose not to, it’s kind of a life validating thing. You’re like, well I actually really like where I’m at and I can’t make it better.

Speaker 3: 00:36:01 Yeah.

Mike: 00:36:04 Cause if I could, if I could think of making how to make my life better, I would do it and selling isn’t it? So, yeah.

Sean: 00:36:14 Yeah. Cool. Well all of these things like the, the, the analogy that I use, I think you snowboard as well, but it’s like when you’re bootstrapped, you’re essentially like cat walking across the mountain and you have a lot of latitude where you can go at that point and you can choose to, you know, this isn’t the run I want. I’m going to keep going. As soon as you raise money, you’re essentially swooshing down the mountain now. And your cone of optionality in terms of where you can go at that point has greatly narrowed to whatever line you now have on that slope. Right. And, and, and that’s essentially like every one of these points that you list on here, it speaks to that about, not just in terms of decision making, but all these other factors about what you can’t do now. Um, so it’s giving up a great deal of control.

Mike: 00:37:02 Yeah. Something like somebody says something along the lines of like, intelligence is a preservation of options or, or, or something like that. Right. Like it’s like a chess kind of deal. Right. And so yeah, creating more options for yourself I think is, um, is fundamentally a good idea.

Sean: 00:37:19 Yeah. Cool. Well, so for the people, what advice do you have for people who are bootstrapping? I know you’ve got some tips in here, like what do you recommend, um, in terms of like just kind of the way you approached it, like just basically treat it like you don’t have the money and keep postponing indefinitely. The prospect of raising money or like what, what, what all do you recommend?

Mike: 00:37:45 Yeah, so, um, it kinda depends on the phase that they’re in. Um, like in sof. So if you’re like early in your face, like here’s the deal is that, is that if you are bootstrapping, one thing that you need to start from like a good foundation is just the ability to get a job and your, and getting a confidence level that you can get a job pretty fast or a Gig, you know, like it doesn’t have to be a job. It can be like, you know, if you have like a consulting kind of thing, you can go on like websites and get get gigs, right? So basically you need to be able to work on your thing without, without a risk. Uh, you know, and especially in the very beginning if you’re not being completely supported by your, by your business. Right? So that’s the first thing.

Mike: 00:38:26 And then the second thing of course, is yeah, postpone getting funding and keep postponing it for as long as you can. Keep your cost of living as low as you can possibly it. Um, uh, which, which is I think, you know, I don’t know. I think I feel like it, I feel like it could be different if I had a, if I had wife and kids when I started. Um, but I don’t think that, I think that the answer is, you know, keep it as low as you can. Um, the other thing is that, um, you

Mike: 00:39:01 are going to have ideas and you do not need to execute on all of them. In fact, you should execute on, you need to evaluate each idea and be sure like you should basically fold most ideas that you have. I call them ideas or like poker hands. Um, you really should fold the majority of them and you will have another one. Um, and the way that I, uh, evaluate ideas, well, the way that I evaluate ideas in the context of having an existing company is a little bit different than, than I a way that I evaluate, evaluate ideas in the context of not having one. But if you’re, so when you’re bootstrapping, you’re trying to figure out what you want to do, um, you want to look for something that can be prototyped quickly and that can deliver a cashflow immediately. Meaning you don’t need like some kind of, you know, like you’re not building youtube from bootstrap.

Mike: 00:39:54 That’s not going to be a thing, you know. Um, so, so this, I don’t do any social network stuff or you know, like if it’s, if your idea is that the profit model is advertising back profit model, you don’t, don’t do that. You find a different idea. Um, be aware of anything that requires a critical mass of any kind. Um, and then, uh, and then also choose ideas that you are particularly well suited to execute on. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a preexisting domain knowledge of it, but it should mean that the, uh, the core, the core of the idea is, is something that you, um,

Speaker 4: 00:40:35 okay,

Mike: 00:40:35 that you’re particularly well suited to. For example, for me, I like generally look for things. I happen to be really good at kind of like, um, like a, it’s like kind of like data imagination. Like I don’t really want to call it data science cause it’s, it’s a bit different than that. It’s almost like data on data innovation or something like that. I can kind of see the matrix of how data fits together. It’s a, um, weird skill. Um, most people don’t have it. So in a way I’m kind of like ideally suited to execute on ideas that are around that. And, um, how did you discover that superpower of yours? Or is there a way that you think people can systematically arrive at that and knowing that? Oh man, um, well,

Mike: 00:41:24 um, I, I, uh, I have some ideas, some ideas, uh, about how, how to, uh, because it’s not like necessarily studying data science or something like that is going to get you there. It’s different. Um, and I have thought about it quite a bit because I don’t see it, uh, very often. Um, but I think that, I think that I’ve come up with a bit of a process and it, and it’s, and it’s a little bit complicated and I will one day like make a presentation on it at to like simplify it. But I think it’s about like, I think that the first step to it is to always be estimating things in your mind, like constantly build the, build the build into your mind, the ability to instantly estimate something or estimate really big things really well, really fast because uh, the, and then, and then just basically always apply that like no matter what problem you’re going into, estimate it first, see if you’re right and if you’re wrong, I mean, if the data doesn’t add up, you have to figure out whether or not you were wrong or whether or not there’s something weird about the data.

Mike: 00:42:33 Right? So I think that that’s kind of like the very first step, but it takes a bit of time to, to sort of build that discipline or if it’s built into you. Good. It’s sort of, I feel like it’s built into me. But I also think that it’s one of those things that nobody teaches you. Like it’s like, it doesn’t come from math. It doesn’t come from, from anything that I’ve ever heard in like data science stuff. But I think that that’s the key. Constantly beget checking and that, and then that’ll kind of get you, get you there

Sean: 00:43:02 checking and then testing to see whether you are right. Yeah. Interesting. Okay.

Mike: 00:43:07 But you have to be able to do it really fast, right? Like, so you can kind of like my kids, I play this game with my kids cause I want to teach them how to like, do that type of thing. And so we, um, we play a game at dinner very often. Um, and that is to like estimate the population of countries or cities. Um, and you’d Kinda like, you don’t know the population of Turkmenistan. Yeah. Right. But you, you eventually can build an idea as to where it is and what its population density is likely to be and that type of thing. Um, and uh, and so there’s a whole bunch of different domains where you could kind of um, try to like learn to estimate but this is just something that we do randomly and uh, and I would recommend doing that type of thing. Building your estimation skills, your instant estimations.

Sean: 00:43:56 That’s awesome. I just read a book recently, it’s called super thinking. It’s the Guy Gabriel, the founder of DuckDuckGo search engine and it’s him and his wife basically trying to wrap 300 mental models into a narrative form and then teach just kind of this toolbox and give it the, you know, they categorize them and then kind of came up with little anecdotes that make a memorable and it was a really cool project but I love what you’re saying that like just kind of strengthening that muscle of being able to quickly assess a situation and then back test it and see if you were right. It kind of you develop that almost like, I don’t pre cognition if you want to call it or some kind of that capability. A what a fascinating thing to work on. It’s cool that you’re practicing that with your kids.

Mike: 00:44:43 Yeah. It’s kind of like this a, it’s like when you’re like evaluating your ideas to write you, you basically want to like constant, just really quickly go through the feasibility of it. Um, cause quite honestly like with anything that’s like an idea, uh, or like, um, you know, when we do a design iterations designed, when we prototype stuff or products, we want to spend as little time on our ideas as we possibly can, um, before we share it with others. And it’s a similar thing with like, like a product idea or a business idea. You want to sort of do that quick estimation on what w how the profit model is going to work out and that type of deal. Uh, how, what’s the market size? Just estimate it, just estimate it and get better and better at, at estimating those, uh, what the size of the market is and you know, how like what’s your conversion rate going to be and all that stuff. Yes. Teammate those things. And then oftentimes you can discard the idea because it’s not a feasible profit model. Um, and that’s great cause then you don’t spend any more time thinking about it and getting attached to it because you, you know, you have to really be, when you’re the only one making the decisions, when you’re like, when you have, when you can chart your own course through the world, you have to be very careful about what you convince yourself of. Yeah,

Sean: 00:46:01 yeah, yeah. You’re, you’re almost doing real time Monte Carlo simulation, you know, your smoke testing all these ideas very quickly and just discarding them and then picking the one that actually passes a smoke test and, okay, let’s actually look at that one. That’s super interesting.

Mike: 00:46:15 Yeah. Yeah. And it’s just like rapid arithmetic, you know, like using percentages and probabilities and, and just multiplication and, you know, it’s, um, it’s a, it’s a, if you ever wonder what math does for you, it’s like this is the, you know, like calculus not so useful doing rapid, uh, rapid, rapid, uh, testing or fractions and probabilities. Quite useful. Extremely using ice all day, every day, probably 30, 40 times a day. You know, and I don’t even think about the frequency.

Sean: 00:46:51 And that’s all self taught or did you ever read something that led you down that path?

Mike: 00:46:57 I realize that it’s probably a difference maker for me after sort of trying to think about what, why am I good at data? You know, like people have asked me that often and I initially had no answers and I still don’t have like all the answers. But, um, I think that that’s kind of, um, that’s part of it. Cool.

Sean: 00:47:23 Cool. Any other bootstrapping tips?

Mike: 00:47:28 Mm, yeah, I these other ones. Let’s see. Um, you know, one of the things that you might want to look at is when, when you’re looking at one of those ideas, when you’re evaluating an idea, consider building a bit of a consulting model into it. Um, I think that a consulting model is like not, not great. I don’t like it. Uh, you know, cause it doesn’t make you money while you sleep, but it certainly helps out when you’re bootstrapping cause you can always dial it up and dial it back. So if there’s a, if there’s a possibility to have that in there, and when you’re doing consulting, you know, on a product, you know, if you have like a quote unquote solution instead of really well built out product, um, you can, I mean, it allows you to kind of build the solution into a product as you go.

Mike: 00:48:17 You’re basically supplementing the, like weaknesses of your product with like human stuff for awhile. Um, but, uh, but it, it just, it just sort of allows you to like activate like sales instead of marketing. Um, and, and, and the reality is, is that you, uh, if you have a product that you are the only one that knows how to use, you’re just going to get paid more than you would elsewhere. Right? Like when, when we had velocity scape, the product web scraper plus was good enough for like 50% of our customers. So 50% of people would buy it and never really need to talk to us. And the other 50% basically needed us to build them a solution and then they could operate it after that. And, um, and so what happened was we would have people and we were able to, we were able to charge like basically like, you know, $250 an hour or so for the consulting.

Mike: 00:49:13 And I was, you know, paying people like 30 bucks an hour. So it was, uh, it was, it was quite a profitable consulting model. Um, and, you know, and we get all, we had so much room that, you know, if we needed to close a deal, we could just, you know, make it happen. Right? Like you just dropped the pricing close with the, basically subsidize the development of your product. You’re getting paid to build your product at that point. Instead, it’s the opposite of raising investment basically. Yeah. Um, I think another thing that, that people, uh, are always concerned with when they’re starting out is that like, they’re like, everybody’s going to know that I’m small. I’ve got to put some background noise on here. So, you know, so that, it sounds like a real office and, uh, I don’t think that that’s a big deal.

Mike: 00:50:00 Um, I think that we’re kind of often afraid of our own shadows. I think that people like to think that people like, I think there’s a, a pretty big market of people that like to deal with a small business cause they know that they have that they’re going to get one on one attention. And so, uh, I think you can use that to your advantage more than feel like it’s in any way. I used to, uh, you know, it’s like somebody calling and they’re for like, can I talk to your support or whatever. And I’m like, hold on, let me transfer you. And I’d be like, I’m just kidding. I’m your support.

Mike: 00:50:36 But uh, yeah I think you just gotta gotta kind of get over that anxiety cause it’s really not a thing. But Yo, everybody feels like it is. Especially if you’ve used to work for a big company and the other tips that are burning a hole in your, I have a few more tips. I can just go over them really quickly. Internet is more important than electricity. It’s straight up is like when l if Internet ever goes out in our office, like everybody just is done working. But the electricity, yeah, fuck it. Like the electricity can go out. Um, so uh, there’s a few ways, like if you running this thing out of your house, uh, it’s just like these are just like really like core level to like really just like the most straight level straight forward tip that I can possibly give you. You can get multiple drops of like, you know, um, uh, like if you have like Cox or you know, like that type of Internet, you can get multiple drops.

Mike: 00:51:27 Um, you can also get a backup internet that’s like LTE. Um, and you can, um, and here’s the trick. This is like just straight up from like a dude. You need to make the distance between your inbound modem and like your inbound connection from the outside of your house to the Modem. You need to make that basically zero feet. And the reason they need to do that is, number one, it’ll improve the reliability. But number two, when you get the people to come out, time is of the essence and they’re going to basically, when they see this happening, they’re going to be doing to try to blame like the cables inside your house. And so you need to make it so that like you’re basically connected right there so that, so that, that first level tech support guy can’t, can’t brush you off. The other thing is when that first level tech support guy comes, you need to like have like your, um, like you just need to set up, uh, your laptop and have a pin constantly going.

Mike: 00:52:18 When he sees that you have a ping thing coming, he’s going to call the second or third level support guy. And so what’ll end up happening is that you’re going to get like, you’re gonna get your problem fixed. Like, like Dave just ass dropping out all the troubleshooting. Obviously like zooming ahead to the end step of technical support it sounds like. And you’re establishing sort of like your technical superiority in a sense, right? You’re basically like, look dude, here’s, here’s my, here’s my trace routes in my, you know, in my pings. You know, like, look, see how it’s flaky right here. See how it drops packets every once in awhile. Just say literally what I just had right now. Say that literally those words you’ll get escalated. Okay? Um, the other thing is that you can get what’s called a multilam load balanced router. It sounds complicated.

Mike: 00:53:02 They’re like 250 bucks or something. But what this allows you to do is have multiple connections that you’ll either load, balance or fail over to. I didn’t learn about them for quite some time, but it’s how you [inaudible]. They’re not very expensive yet. This is how you get multiple drops. And basically what happens is one thing can go down and then you have another one. And then the other, the other thing is, is that if you have cable modems, you need to replace them no matter what. Every 12 months do it religiously. It doesn’t matter whether it’s dropping packets, just basically just do it because I’m, this is analog electronics. That’s what cable modems are based on. It’s a, um, it’s, it’s, it, these, those type of components are designed to break down over time. It’s like capacitors and crap like that. Uh, I’m an electrical engineer, you know, so, um,

Sean: 00:53:49 just this, this is gold. I’m going to link to it in the show notes because man, what, just a veteran guru, like just, I would imagine this becomes way more important to when it’s, if it’s just you, you run to the coffee shop and you keep working, but when you’ve got 12 employees now in your garage and your home internet goes down and you better have some kind of backup cause that’s 12 salaries that are just idling right there. Yeah.

Mike: 00:54:15 It’s, it’s sucks. It’s horrible when it happens. And uh, yeah, I had like 16 people in my backyard. Uh, and yeah, every once in a while that Internet would go out and you know, obviously we fixed it. Um, got like three, three drops and all kinds of things. So. Cool. Um, let’s see. Yeah. Don’t try it. Don’t spend time being big. Lets a number nine. Um, yeah. Okay. So this is an interesting one. You know, because I know that you guys, uh, Pagely are, um, like a virtual team, right? Like you’re remote, you’re in Lisbon, Josh is in Tucson. And I think that your, everybody that you have is, uh, can be wherever they want. And uh, and so this is an interesting thing is the minute that you hire your first employee and they come into work a, is the minute that you lose some freedom.

Mike: 00:55:09 So in a way, the first physical employee that you hire, you need to, you know, he had a way that, right? Like, cause you do have a potentially a really good thing going and you’re gonna lose a good bit of freedom to some degree. You’re gonna lose a good bit of freedom forever. But, um, but at least until you have, when you have like 10 employees that come to any kind of cap, sorry, the company will kind of run itself when you’re gone. Um, I mean, I’m obviously out at my, my beach house. I can take a vacation for potentially months and everything is fine. Um, but it’s a pretty mature company at this point. Um, yeah, the GCS have keep that in mind. I don’t know how exactly that works. If employees are virtual from my perspective, virtual employees, I don’t know if I’m a good enough communicator. I feel like I want to be able to be in the same space with somebody. I, I really would like to know how I think that. I want Josh to like give that presentation about how to run like a virtual organization. Cause um, I think it’s a totally different, totally different animal, totally different skillset. But it certainly has some really a traveler

Speaker 5: 00:56:24 qualities in that

Sean: 00:56:25 we’ll definitely be talking at some point. I mean I can send you whenever we hit it with an episode specifically on that topic, but there is absolutely like a culture and a, a mindset that has to exist where you’re pushing the decision making to the edges and you’re like far more tolerant of mistakes. Communication has to be, you know, you have to compensate for the fact that you’re not in person. So therefore there has to be like pretty nice regular check-ins and good like flat structure and everyone needs to be able to talk to everyone. So there’s definitely some things. Um, uh, we can, we can share in that regard. Uh, at some point.

Speaker 5: 00:57:01 Yeah, I’ll bet that you have like the same sort of, you know, um, what gritty tips that I have for like cable modems on like how to use slack. You know, like I use slack probably like, and in a way that you would probably laugh at, you know, it’s like, why are you, how can you possibly keep on top of all this communication? It’s like, well, because I walk over to paypal and say hi and basically rely on that. So, yeah, I bet. I bet you guys know how to use virtual communications super well. Yeah. We’re, we’re, let’s see. I guess I have one last one. Yup. Uh, when, when you, okay, here’s how you know, when you need to hire, when you can’t fit more hours into your day, hire the first person to hire, hire the person to do the 20 hours a week of stuff that you can hire for the least amount of money.

Speaker 5: 00:57:59 Right. Cause you know, like people would always tell me, you know, you need to hire like an assistant or whatever, or a personal assistant. I’m like, yeah, to like do some coding or something. Right? Like can I, can I get like a personal assistant that I’ll like write some code or you know, do some sales or whatever. But the, the, the thing is, is that you just sort of like write down all the things that you do and that you do. Cause you’re going to pick up, you’re the entrepreneur, you’re going to pick up all the things and uh, and you just need to find that you’re not going to actually be able to find 40 hours a week of stuff that you do. So you just need to find 20 hours a week of stuff that you do and then hire that person, hire, hire those things. The lowest thing. It’s kind of like, it’s just an iterative thing too, cause you’re constantly gonna be working and you’re probably going to be working 60 hours. And so you just got to find that, that clump of stuff that uh, that is like, like the lowest cost clump of stuff. And that’s,

Sean: 00:58:53 I wouldn’t do that. I would absolutely attest to this and I would say this, this factor is it work for sure for the entrepreneur. But even within an organization, I started a page lead, you know, I was employee number eight and was handling all sales and marketing. And I think the, the, a tip that I learned early on through the Kauffman Foundation course was to imagine the org chart. Even if you’re just one person picture like the roles that you’re performing and map out that org chart. So you that, okay, I’m wearing a hat of a marketer right now. I’m wearing the hat of, you know, the account exec or the SDR or the onboarding person. You know, picture all those hats and then be conscious of it because you’re just inevitably going to be cleaving off those roles eventually. And so it’s helpful to like imagine it that way and be very deliberate when you’re putting on the content blog hat for that, that for whatever you’re doing. Um, I mean that was just a super valuable visualization for me once I had that, it was like, okay, I’m in this mode and, and you know, and I’m, I’m, I’m cognizant that the SDR role is what’s taking up the most times, so therefore that is going to be the first thing we cleave off and hire for.

Speaker 5: 01:00:02 So yeah. And you know, right now you’re the podcasting role, right? Yeah.

Sean: 01:00:07 Who Knew? Yeah, they man. Oh, so, well, so we’ll start, we’ll wrap it up here. I do have one just quick rapid fire set of questions that I ask all the guests. Um, what is one book that has profoundly affected you?

Speaker 5: 01:00:22 Uh, I think that probably in my favorite book, uh, it’s had the most lasting impact is how to win friends and influence people.

Sean: 01:00:30 Nice. What about, what is one tool or hack? It could be a software application, could be just like some like cool hack that you have that saves you time, money, headaches,

Speaker 5: 01:00:44 cool hack. I like don’t think that it’s a hack, but um, if you are, uh, if you have a website and you’re not doing split testing, um, using like, um, you know, a variety of split testing tools, vwo is the one that we use. Um, then I can’t explain how much, how much money you’re probably leaving on the table. It’s, it’s like, uh, and I, and I run across people not doing split testing, you know, even in your buying process like that, that’s like, that’s like one of the first things that I would, um, that I would invest in. And one of the last things that I would like ever not do. It’s super

Sean: 01:01:33 the Ab test all the things vwo sorry. Vwo for those people listening, it’s visual website optimizer, we’ll link to that tool. That’s a great suggestion for sure.

Speaker 5: 01:01:44 Yeah. Like I’ve, you know, made millions and millions of dollars like on that. That was awesome. Super Valuable.

Sean: 01:01:49 All right. What about one piece of music or musical artists that speaks to you lately?

Speaker 4: 01:01:55 Okay,

Speaker 5: 01:01:57 well I’m at the beach, so I listened to a lot of Bob Marley while I’m here. It’s a, and, and I don’t necessarily do it because I’m like super into Bob Marley, but what it does is that it makes it so that every time I, so that I can basically return to the beach whenever I want to. Like I just constantly play it and like I play it to like the extent that like my kids, like it filters into them. So you can just like take this one Shondra of music and be like [inaudible] classically conditioning. Yeah, that, that’s an amazing life. I get there. Very cool. Um, all right, so this is a question I stole from Peter Teal. What is, what important truth? Do Very few people agree with you on?

Speaker 5: 01:02:35 I’m kind of a, I don’t know how few, you know, but I’m kind of a, a, a bit of a natural zen guy. You know, like I like, like my employees would tell you that I always say this like, well it either is or it isn’t. Uh, and I say it all the time. It’s either, it either, either is or it isn’t. There’s not much you can change about it. Or, um, I’ll give you a weird example cause I was just surfing yesterday. Uh, we had some pretty big surf. It was like a, like these seven foot rollers. It was high tide and high tide waves are real fast. And so I was, I was out there and I was like, um, oh look at this great wave. I saw it coming in. So I paddled, I paddle, I sprinted as hard as I could and I missed the wave.

Speaker 5: 01:03:24 It rolled under me is too fast. And, um, and so I, you know, I, I made it a ways in, and then I turned back around and I look out on the horizon and there’s like this frigging like, like this shadow, this giant shadow coming at me. And it’s like this enormous, enormous, probably 12 foot wave. And it’s just, it’s like 500 feet out and I’m like, Oh shit. So I paddle as hard as I can and I’m paddling like it’s like a sprint, right? Like I have to, because here’s what happens is if I can get up that wave and over the wave, then it will, then I make it. And if I don’t, it’ll just trap me in this, in this, um, it’s called getting trapped inside. So I’d get just like in this wash area and it pushed me back and I just get super tired.

Speaker 5: 01:04:10 So I’m sprinting, I’m sprinting and I’m like, I’d already kind of been spent cause I chase down that other wave and I missed it. So I’m sprinting and like there’s like this one to two second window where you either make it to the peak of the wave or the damn thing just crashes on you. And in this case, the damn thing just, just crashed on me. And I looked up at the wave and I’m like, you know, fucking wave and it’s crashing on me and I’m like getting held underwater. And of course I’m completely out of breath and I, you know, it’s holding me under and I’m like, yeah, but you know, it’s the ocean man. You can’t blame the ocean. It just doesn’t the Torrance and then right surface. And I’m just like, cause I’ve had this whole thought underneath the water and I get up to the surface and I’m like, just laughing at myself because it’s just such a fucking zen thing to say and it makes no sense, but it’s, it’s perfectly philosophically. Right. You know? And I got trapped on the inside and paddled out and everything’s fed because if you did it, if you, you know, I don’t never that shit. Yeah. [inaudible] advice. If you didn’t

Sean: 01:05:18 go today,

Speaker 5: 01:05:23 you know, sometimes the waves happen.

Sean: 01:05:25 Yup. And you get crushed. All right, last question man. What if you had a time machine to go back to your 20 year old self and give yourself any advice maybe before, I dunno, the actually you started that was even, no. So let’s say your 19 year old self, before you started these companies, uh, what would you tell yourself if you could give yourself any bit of advice?

Speaker 5: 01:05:44 Yeah, I mean I made all kinds of mistakes and I think that like, um, that, um, but, but I don’t, I don’t actually have any regrets which I feel like I would have told myself I’m not very hard on myself and so I want to like, I want to be like really critical of my past self in some way, but, but I’m not because I knew what I knew and I know that I always followed what I felt like was right.

Sean: 01:06:20 You can just say, good job dude, you’re going to have a good life.

Speaker 5: 01:06:25 I mean like that sounds really fucked up. I should say something like, um, loyalty is really important and you should value it more than almost anything else. Okay. That’s good. I know for sure when I was 20 I thought that there were things that were like maybe more important than loyalty, but over time like that actually ends up being like a super valuable thing. Um, yeah. Cool. Definitely. That would be, that’d be like, that’d be something that I didn’t know that I learned over time.

Sean: 01:07:03 Very cool. Awesome. All right, well the very last thing, just because we said we’d mentioned it at the beginning, the segway jousting, I will let you describe because guess what, that I, I still had, so I actually, I’m going to let you describe it.

Speaker 5: 01:07:17 Okay. So segway adjusting. Every year I do something kind of crazy for my birthday and this, this probably started 12 years ago or whatever. And uh, and so we’re sort of brainstorming at some point. And one of the things we came up with willows, why don’t we rent some segues and then Joe’s done. And so actually what happened was the first couple of years, you know, everybody, it’s, it’s like actually a little bit less dangerous than you’d think. Most of the time. Everything works out. We basically made like these jousting poles that were, you know, it was like, uh, like a boxing glove over the end of like a painters, uh, pole with like a yoga mat wrapped around it. And, you know, and nobody actually ever got actually in paled and a, a couple of times people got ran over by like segues, but really they’re not that heavy and so everything’s fine.

Speaker 5: 01:08:12 Um, so the first two years, everything fine and then the third year, because the, the, the, the place that we were renting them from just went rent them to us anymore for whatever reason. I don’t know. Um, the, uh, I had to rent them from San Diego and drive them over. Well, I had the extra time to figure out how to upgrade their speed. So when we’d get them from like this place we were renting them from, they’d die. They’d max out at 10 miles an hour. And so I got them when I got them from San Diego, I, I figured out how to make them go 12 and that extra speed became sort of dangerous. A couple of people, including yourself got, uh, got, had some injuries that your there was, and I didn’t even know until like at way after the fact. I was like, why?

Speaker 5: 01:09:02 Why didn’t people get in trouble? This to be totally clear though. I would do it again at heartbeat. That was freaking amazing. Oh yeah. It was good times. I mean, I can’t believe that you broke your ribs and never said a damn thing about it except for like two months later you’re like, yeah man, you broke my rib. And I was like, what the f? Yeah. I mean that even false. We had body armor on. I don’t know. It was like we had padded Pujol sticks and body armor and yeah. But a definitely broke, broke two ribs. Um, and yeah, it just healed eventually, but we wrote two times. I apologize. We were just like warming up. It wasn’t even like, right. We were just fucking really wasn’t even that. Like, I mean, there was some dude who got like way, it looked way more serious.

Speaker 5: 01:09:50 The thing that he, whatever, I forget the guy’s name, but he, he got in one though, just seemed way more serious, but uh, just got me just wrong. But it was amazing. Incredible. I would do it again. It was like just American gladiator style bad-ass. Very cool. Yeah. Awesome. Well, hey man, thank you so much for being on the show. It’s, uh, it’s always a pleasure cashing up. Enjoy the beach house, and, uh, thanks for being a speaker at PressNomics. Oh, thanks for having me, man. It’s great. Love, love hanging out. Cool, man. Alright, let’s, okay. All right, later.

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